The career-networking service LinkedIn has agreed to pay $1.8 million (roughly Rs. 13 crore) in back wages to hundreds of female workers to settle a pay discrimination complaint brought by US labour investigators.
The US Labor Department announced Tuesday that it has reached a settlement agreement with LinkedIn to resolve allegations of “systemic, gender-based pay discrimination" in which women were paid less than men in comparable job roles.
The settlement affects nearly 700 women who worked in engineering, product or marketing roles from 2015 to 2017 at the company's offices in San Francisco and Sunnyvale, California. It includes the time before and after Microsoft's $26.2 billion (roughly Rs. 2,00,380 crore) acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016.
LinkedIn said in a statement that “while we have agreed to settle this matter, we do not agree with the government's claims; LinkedIn pays and has paid its employees fairly and equitably when comparing similar work.”
The settlement agreement says LinkedIn argued that its statistical models didn't identify pay disparities. The government said its own analysis found significant pay disparities even after controlling for “legitimate explanatory factors.”
The agency said the case was sparked by a routine evaluation by its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Federal laws ban discriminatory practices at companies that contract with the federal government.
Last year, Google faced a similar complaint against pay disparity when California's civil rights regulator was investigating company's treatment of Black female workers following alleged incidents of harassment and discrimination, according to two people familiar with the matter and emails from the agency seen by Reuters.
Attorneys and analysts at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) had repeatedly interviewed several Black women who have worked at the Alphabet-owned company about their experiences there, according to the documents and the sources.
Questions have centred on alleged harassment and discrimination in the workplace, according to the emails. The DFEH declined to comment.
Google said it is focused on "building sustainable equity" for its Black workers and that 2020 was its largest year for hiring what it calls "Black+" workers, a designation inclusive of people belonging to multiple races.
"Our goal is to ensure that every employee experiences Google as an inclusive workplace," it said. "We'll continue to focus on this important work and thoroughly investigate any concerns, to make sure our workplace is representative and equitable."